Take a Hike: Family-Friendly Trails Around San Antonio

This summer, get your family outside and take a hike! We don’t get out as nearly as often as we’d like, but we’ve managed to have some fun on the trails with our 15-month-old daughter.

A nice and easy-ish place to start is to simply take the paved trail to the Hilltop lookout at Eisenhower. Some may say it’s not a “hike” because it’s paved, but those hills at the end still say I’m working my butt off while pushing a stroller.

Not counting all the times we’ve done Eisenhower, our first family hike was up Enchanted Rock around Easter weekend when Anabel was less than two months old. I was breastfeeding at the time, but that didn’t stop us. I fed her in the car, changed her diaper, and then we headed up that pink piece of granite. 

We bundled her up, and my husband carried her in a Baby Bjorn. We took it nice and easy, because I had only recently been given medical clearance for physical activity after the C-section. 

Anabel was a champ during this hike, and it encouraged us to know we could do more in the future.

I carried her after we’d safely made our way down to the bottom.

It was a while before we took our next hike, because Fiesta, then summer travels, and wanting to avoid the heat with her.

We finally hit the trails again in November. Friedrich Wilderness Park was the next one we tackled. If you’ve never been to this park, it’s a true gem just outside of 1604 off I-10. The Main Loop trail was calling our name, and we took off with snacks for Anabel and enough water for all. Justin wore Anabel in a Lillebaby carrier this time around. We didn’t leave the Main Loop to take any side trails because we were working on a pretty tight time table, knowing Anabel would want more than a snack in the near future, shortly thereafter to be followed by some serious napping.

Pets aren’t allowed at Friedrich, so for any park you want to visit, make sure to check out their website before you bring Fido along for the fun.

Perdenales Falls was the next state park we visited during Thanksgiving weekend. Justin again wore Anabel in the carrier for this one. We hiked out to see the falls, which at times was a bit tricky because of the rocks. This led to us passing around the baby so everyone could safely maneuver.

Because this hike was relatively quick, we ended up hiking along the Twin Falls Nature Trail, which was also nice and easy. The trickiest part was a fallen log we had to duck under, and that alone made me glad for a regular carrier versus a hiking backpack.

We finally purchased a hiking backpack to carry Anabel and tested it out at Eisenhower on the Hillview Natural Trail. This trail was one of the most challenging we’ve done with her, mostly because my short legs meant I was always looking for a path that didn’t include giant steps down. Justin and Anabel had a blast, though, and she ended up falling asleep towards the end of the hike.

This year, we again we found ourselves hiking on Easter weekend, but this time at Garner State Park when we went camping with friends. Instead of hiking Old Baldy, we went with the White Rock Cave Trail and ended up having to turn around after not quite a half mile because the terrain was super uneven and when the map says “steep,” it really means it!

Plus, we were all tired from not getting the best sleep on our air mattress the night before. Camping in a tent doesn’t mean you have to sleep right on top of the ground!

You can find awesome trails in Hardberger Park’s West side. They are easy with very little elevation, and there are just a few areas with uneven terrain (more rocks than dirt). It’s an amazing spot in the center of north San Antonio—and free, too! This is where I attempted my first solo backpack hike.

We had a blast, it was well shaded, and though it felt like miles from anywhere, we were close to home. Anabel fell asleep, but when I took her out of the backpack she heard the kiddos playing and burned off some extra energy at the playground. Naps for everyone!

I’m looking forward to going on toddler-led hikes with her with Hike it Baby groups. Hike it Baby is a great resource for people looking to hike or walk with others and their children.

Quick Tips (even if you like to wing it the way I usually do):

  • Bring water for everyone (if you’ll be on the trail for a while, maybe some snacks too).
  • An extra diaper and some wipes never hurt anyone (no need to lug the whole diaper bag out if you can just have the essentials).
  • Don’t break in shoes the first time out. Also, don’t wear shoes that are so broken in they no longer have grip.
  • Watch your step out there! Those leaves might make it look nice and flat, but they might be covering a hole or a change in elevation—plus, those suckers can be slippery.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen and bug repellent.
  • Have fun and enjoy your surroundings!

I highly recommend any of the hikes we’ve taken, though I’d like to be in better shape the next time we go to Garner—maybe we’ll tackle Old Baldy then. In the meantime, I hope to see you on the trails!

Have you been hiking with your kiddo? Have a favorite? Share in the comments!

Ariana grew up in San Antonio but left home to attend the University of Florida (Go Gators!), where she met and fell in love with her best friend and future husband. Justin’s professional pursuits brought them back to San Antonio, via grad school for them both at UT Austin. Happily calling the Alamo City home for more than a decade, the new parents welcomed a baby girl, Anabel, into their lives this past January and are excited to share the city they love with her. Ariana works as a communications and marketing director for a local nonprofit and is already counting down the days to next year’s Fiesta! She occasionally maintains her blog Corkscrew Curiosity.